Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday announced two additional cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, bringing the total number of cases to three.
The news came as he tabled a proclamation by the governor general declaring a public state of emergency and the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations, 2020.
“Late last evening, health officials confirmed two additional cases of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 on New Providence,” he said as he addressed the House of Assembly.
“These individuals were identified through contact tracing.”
On Sunday, The Bahamas’ first COVID-19 patient was identified as a 61-year-old woman who had no recent travel history. Minnis said that, so far, 30 of the woman’s contacts have been identified. Her household contacts are in quarantine and being tested.
“The Ministry of Health’s surveillance unit has aggressively undertaken contact tracing activities for the initial case reported,” he said.
“These contact tracing investigations have revealed that household members of the COVID-19 positive patient traveled to jurisdictions with known community transmission – Canada, Trinidad and Dubai.
“These household contacts have been quarantined and samples taken for testing.
“Other contacts, including healthcare providers, are being investigated to determine their level of exposure and risk.
“A total of 30 contacts of the COVID-19 positive patient have been identified.”
The regulations tabled by Minnis grant wide-ranging powers to the prime minister that will allow for, among other things, the detention of people infected with COVID-19 or those who traveled to infected places; the possible prohibition of assembly of two or more people in any specific area; the requisition of any building, ship or aircraft; a curfew; social distancing and isolation orders; restricted access to specified areas; and the prohibition of publishing or reposting false stories.
The updated COVID-19 count came three days after the first case was announced. Minnis said the new cases were identified through contact tracing of the first patient.
The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and in severe cases pneumonia. The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, late last year.
As of yesterday, there were over 215,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in at least 144 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
At least 8,700 people have died from the disease.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last week. Shortly after, it announced that the epicenter of the pandemic is now Europe.
Minnis announced earlier this week that foreigners who have been in the UK or Europe in the past 20 days will not be allowed entry into The Bahamas. Bahamians who have recently visited the region will face quarantine upon entering The Bahamas.
There were at least 5,000 confirmed cases in the United States and 112 deaths.